Viuer’s former CTO, Howard Page (He is still listed on Viuer’s Comany Page) will launch his own ride-share advertising app sometime in September, which is called LocalDL. LocalDL is a Viuer Competitor and they will both directly compete for clients . We reached out to Viuer’s CEO Gino Pacini about Howard’s decision to launch LocalDL (a direct competitor) and received no response.
Howard Page, an accomplished system engineer and business developer (with experience working with companies such as Viuer, Figwig, LocalDipity, to name a few,) joins the growing list of rideshare start up founders.
Will This New App Improve Advertising In The Ride-share Community?
Howard Page got inspired to start LocalDL while driving down I-20. He realized that even though everyone had cell phones, communication wasn’t that effective. That led him to work on technology that connects CB radio [Citizens Band Radio] to smartphones. In his words “While the CB radio idea is still on hold, the technology I built was flexible enough that I can bring it to bear on other problems”.
LocalDL is a digital marketing channel for advertisers and passengers. The new app will provide an advertising platform that can give advertisers the opportunity to advertise static and dynamic content to Uber passengers and other rideshare passengers. This new app will be similar to Viuer in the sense that it is also a platform to advertise on ride-share vehicles to targeted audiences. Regardless of competitors such as Vugo, Rideshare Marketplace, Ryde Media, the CEO of LocalDL, Howard Page is positive about the acceptance of his new advertising app by the rideshare community.
We were able to track down the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of LocalDL and we asked him relevant questions about his new company for better insight. For the full Q&A, see below:
Question and Answers:
Are any of your previous co-founders going to be involved in your new company, LocalDL?
I will reach out to Gino and see if he wants to be involved. There were a couple other people working with Gino that I will talk to.
What is the difference between your previous Company, Viuer and New Company, LocalDL?
Not very much, except the name. The technology in the Viuer app was my technology, so that part of the app looks similar.
What big problem does your company solve?
There is a chicken and egg problem where advertisers want to know how many drivers there are and drivers want to know how many advertisers. We’ve solved this problem with a unique way to engage with drivers without friction. No contracts needed, they just download the app and drive. The solution needs to scale across multiple countries and also needs to be able to move to a contractual solution the future, if necessary.
How big is the market opportunity?
Just in the US, there are over 200,000 drivers. [There are also] millions of ride-share riders every day [in the US]. The market is in the billions [of dollars].
How do you plan to scale the team in the next 12 months?
I will add someone to handle advertisers in the next few months. I’ll bring someone on to handle driver issues after that. Once we scale, I will look to bring the development (web and app) in-house and bring out an Android version.
What motivates you?
My Myers-Briggs personality type is Architect. Curiosity motivates me.
Where are you headquartered?
What are the key differentiated features of your product or service?
We have both push (advertising based on location) and pull (user requested content). We have an on/off switch to turn off the ads but with our pull technology we can still earn money from advertisers. Ad-based only systems can’t turn off ads and still make money.
What do you see are the principal risks to the business?
Can we scale the drivers enough to gain traction in the advertising space so we can make enough money to pay the drivers?
Why do you think this company can beat the competition?
We understand what rider and drivers want and have technology to deliver it and expand into new arenas. (For example, riders have expressed interest in playing games with other ride share riders. We have a way to extend our content management system to do that… We also have a very simplified way to bring in drivers (which is the distribution channel and very important) with no friction. Drivers will tend to go with the solution that is simplest and we are simple.
Why will users care about your product or service?
We asked what they wanted and we’ll deliver it to them.
Why should Uber drivers/passengers use your software?
Drivers use the software to make additional money and make the ride more pleasurable for their riders. Since we’re delivering what the riders want, the end result is a better experience. We’re still working on some of these aspects, but the number one thing about us is that we are a “third” screen for the riders. They can search for things in complete anonymity. For example, riders visiting Denver might want to check out the legal marijuana stores. Searching on their personal devices leaves tracks but our device is not theirs so the search is anonymous.
What have you learned from early versions of the product or service?
Focus on the riders and what they want. Everything else will follow if we engage the riders.
What stage is your company currently at?
The app is done and will be launched in September. The web site is being designed and coded.
How many users (paying users) do you currently have?
How do you plan to hit your first 1 million users?
We will focus initially on ride share fleet managers who handle multiple cars. We’ll also work via Facebook groups to promote the service.
What lessons have you learned when starting your company?
Traction trumps everything.
What gets you out of the bed in the morning?
What keeps you up at night?
What else do I need to do to make it better?
Have you been in a successful start-up before? What was the characteristics that led to success?
My first start up has a public exit and a 2,500% return on my investment. I learned that sales and revenue generation is much harder than I thought. I brought in two partners who were sales professionals and it made all the difference in the world.
Have you been in a failed start-up before? Why did it fail? What would you do differently?
FigWig is a startup that isn’t a failure, yet, but it isn’t really successful. I didn’t focus enough on figuring out the best distribution … In the meantime, YikYak did and got $75Million in funding.
How many hours a week do you spend on work? What about family/hobbies?
I work when I need to and don’t keep track of hours. My children are grown and my wife has her own business (which I co-founded with her) so we keep pretty busy with work. We walk 3 – 5 miles a day with our dog and I do crossword puzzles and teach classes at Emory and UGA for fun. I do research to support my teaching.
What are the key company milestones for the next 6-12 months that need to be achieved?
10,000 drivers in 6 months and 100,000 in 12 months.
Where do you see the company in 5 years?
The technology underpinning the LocalDL app can be expanded to other groups. I see LocalDL expanding across the world over the next few years and expanding the company into other apps using the underlying technology.
What value do you feel that you can provide as the company’s CEO? (Or other position, if you have another role). What is your current vision for the company?
I’d prefer to have someone else be the CEO but I’m all there is right now. My curiosity is more along the technical line so my value is finding new things to bring into the company to help solve different problems.
What are the future implications of the technology you are developing? Have you considered that it could have negative consequences for some people? How would you deal with that?
Yes, I have worked to ensure the technology has controls in it to prevent negative consequences.
What advertising will you be doing to make your service popular?
We’re still working on the best distribution channels but Facebook seems to be a good one to start with.
How do new drivers/passengers sign up for your new service?
They don’t. They download the app and drive.
Any other information that you think will be helpful to your customer demographic will be helpful.
We ask that drivers be patient with us as we build out the advertising side of the business. It may take some time to get funding and advertising revenue to pay out, but we do keep books on what the drivers earn so we can pay them.
Our Opinion :
The race is on between Viuer and LocalDL. Who will win is anyone’s guess, or maybe the real question is – “is there anything to win in the rideshare advertising space”? With Viuer’s CTO (Howard Page) leaving to start his own business, our guess is things are not in very good shape at Viuer: Our money is on LocalDL.
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